Time: 3:30PM – 5:30PM
Location: Downstream from Moraine Park and Bear Lake Road toward YMCA camp
Fish Landed: 3
Having experienced the worst fishing ever on Roaring River, Jane and I packed up our gear and hiked down the Lawn Lake trail to the car and proceeded to drive to the Moraine Park area. Some dark clouds had moved in from the west and the sky was becoming threatening so we made sure we had our raincoats as we began hiking the trail along the Big Thompson River. We continued under the Bear Lake Road bridge and followed the path for a ways until we hit a wide path that led to a pedestrian bridge over the river.
Jane set up her hammock between some trees on the other side of the river and I waded in to a nice spot just above the bridge. I went back to my Chernobyl ant and salvation nymph and began prospecting the slack water along the side of the main run hoping I could induce a strike while Jane watched from the bridge, but I wasn’t so lucky. I moved up along the right bank and found a nice spot with a deep narrow slot about three fourths of the way across the river. I began casting high in the smooth water between faster currents and saw the foam ant dip and reacted with a hook set. Sure enough I felt momentary weight and spotted a fish flashing near the surface, but the weight disappeared in an instant.
I cast again and higher in the three foot slick area the same scenario repeated, and I was even more frustrated with my inability to land a fish. From this point until 5:30 I worked upstream and fished from small pocket to small pocket. The entire width of the river was 100% pocket water and I popped casts into each one that appeared deep enough and long enough to hold fish. This method of fishing involves short casts, keeping the rod high and the line off the water, and very short drifts before drag takes over. The other main accompaniment to pocket fishing is rock climbing. I carefully moved from boulder to boulder until I was in position to peer over the rim of the next upstream rocks into another pocket.
The Chernobyl and salvation nymph were not producing so I tried some caddis, but these also didn’t bring any action to my rod, so I eventually tied on a lime green trude. This fly elicited some refusals but also accounted for the three small fish I landed during the remaining time I fished. Two were six inch browns and one was a 6-7 inch rainbow. Some dark clouds moved in and it began to rain, but not enough to make my fishing shirt totally wet so I fished on.
But then I heard some thunder and saw some lightning and I heard a voice on the bank and it was Jane coming to be my better judgment and reeling me in from a poor fishing experience. I fished a couple attractive small pools as she looked on and almost fell in when my foot got wedged between two rocks. I did land the third small brown while she observed and then retreated to the bank and walked with Jane back to the car.
It was a rather frustrating fishing day in Rocky Mountain National Park, but the scenery was spectacular and I had the companionship of my lovely wife and I purchased a $10 lifetime admittance to all national parks so it was still a pretty good day in Colorado.